A VIOLENT thug who stabbed a man outside a Cumbrian pub with such severe force that the knife was left buried in the victim’s face has received a life prison sentence.
Scott Topping had taken cocaine, thrown a punch at another male and was heard vowing to knife someone even before turning his aggression towards Robbie Pattinson in Wigton on the night of April 12.
Topping followed 21-year-old aspiring amateur boxer Mr Pattinson and his girlfriend out of the Throstles Nest pub before adopting a fighting stance and offering violence in the town centre. Mr Pattinson responded by flooring 39-year-old Topping with two defensive punches.
When the pair met again outside the Throstles Nest a short time later, Topping – “humiliated” and “desperate for revenge” – initially plunged a knife forcefully into Mr Pattinson’s face, just below his left eye having aimed for his throat. Almost six inches of the blade was buried into the bony structures within Mr Pattinson’s skull by the potentially lethal blow, the knife tip missing a key artery by millimetres.
“I just saw the (knife) handle sticking out of my face,” Mr Pattinson told a Carlisle Crown Court jury which ultimately found Topping guilty of attempted murder. “He laughed at me. I tried to pull it (the knife) out of my face but it wouldn’t move.”
It was removed during delicate emergency hospital surgery and Mr Pattinson was placed into a three-day induced coma. Left with facial numbness and tinnitus, he said in an impact statement: “I was doing well with my boxing career and was looking to progress through the ranks but advice from the surgeon is to have some time away from boxing to prevent any further injury.”
Topping was arrested on the night after a lengthy stand-off at his Mulligans Court home in Wigton during which he asked police: “Has he died? I hope he’s died because if he hasn’t…unlucky.”
Topping, who opted not to give evidence during his trial and had shown “no remorse”, did admit assaulting Mr Pattinson’s mother, Lisa Dixon, by punching her in the head after the stabbing; threatening her husband, Neil Dixon, with a second knife; illegal possession of that blade in public; and an affray charge linked to the stand-off with officers.
Sentencing Topping today (FRI), Judge James Adkin heard Topping was previously jailed in 2004 for stabbing three males – two in the throat and one through the arm – and, a decade later, holding a blade to a female’s throat.
Handing down a life jail term, Judge Adkin concluded Topping was a “very dangerous man indeed”. Topping must serve 10 years behind bars before a parole board starts to review whether he is suitable for release. “In my view, you present a clear and imminent danger to members of the public who may happen across you when you are drunk or intoxicated,” said the judge. “It is pure chance this was not a murder case.”
Detective Inspector Matt Scott said: “This was an incredibly violent incident for which the victim was extremely lucky to survive.
“When Topping stabbed the victim, the knife was millimetres from colliding with a carotid artery which would have placed the victim’s life very much at risk.
“Topping deserves the sentence he received. This sends out a clear message to those who engage in violent behaviour that they can expect for this to result in time in prison.
“In Cumbria, we are pleased to live and work in area that does not have a culture of knife crime. We are not complacent and we will continue to protect people across the county through conducting engagement work and robust investigations, as evidenced in this case.”